Chapter One

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I close my eyes and recline back in my seat, willing my brain to pause its long train of thoughts. The paper is due tomorrow and I have all but written three paragraphs out of five whole pages required, and my head is already throbbing from inside out.

The music inside my ears does its round to calm me down. I've looked up certain music on Spotify that my friends have guaranteed helped them focus and concentrate during their studying sessions, and I have to admit that it helps. The songs on the playlist are a combination of white noises, gentle sounds of rainfall and beach waves, and slow piano music. It took a while for me to get used to the sounds, but once I close my eyes, I find myself breathing a little easier. Deeper. Calmer.

I open my eyes again and take a few deep breaths as I look around. The library is as packed up as it's always been, yet it's always silent. I'm seated in one of the many booths that separate me from other students, the library computer in front of me. Other students who don't need the computer and only seek the abnormally fast internet connection are sat at the long tables, while others prefer to sit down on the carpeted floor, typing away on their own laptops. Some others lounge on the couches, their phones in their hands probably using up the free wi-fi to watch some weird YouTube videos.

Some of the people who come in groups are deep in a quiet discussion, thick books and papers thrown haphazardly among them. Others are just reading the borrowed books, or downright sleeping, catching minutes in-between classes for a rest-eye. College life has never been more real to me until this very moment, when all kinds of students in their own respective paths of education gather in the building, doing their own thing yet with their gestures are screaming out the same thought; I have not properly slept in the last two weeks and I can't wait until I graduate from this godforsaken hell-hole. And hopefully get a decent paying job to pay off the student loans... and maybe it's all worth it.

Me, I haven't slept regularly since the school year started. Going to bed before 1 AM is now considered sleeping early in my books. Dark bags have grown quite prettily under my eyes, but that's nothing a holy-grail concealer can't fix. It's my insanity that's slowly been wasting away with no guarantee of returning in one piece that's been concerning my family back home.

I sigh and sit up a little straighter. I return to reading the reference books I've borrowed, and continue with my paper. I don't know how much more time has passed until I finally reach the two-and-a-half-page milestone, but when I look around, I notice that most the people who sit on the booths around me have left.

Half a page left, and I still have one hour until the library closes. I think of happy thoughts—my cat Pebbles who's waiting at the apartment and all the food Adrian must have already brought home by now. Half a page, it's no big deal. I grab the other reference book and with that movement, accidentally knocked over some of the papers until they fall to the floor in a dramatic slow motion, and I pull out the earbuds from my ears so I can crouch down to grab the stuff.

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